Pensions - Articles - Aegon comment on FCA Platform Market Study paper

Commenting on the FCA’s Investment Platform Market Study paper, Steven Cameron, Pensions Director at Aegon said:

 “The FCA’s final Platform Market Study report confirms the fast-growing platform market is on the whole operating well and offering customers value for money.

 “We welcome the FCA allowing the industry to lead on developing solutions to improving the efficiency and timeliness of transfers and re-registrations. The newly formed STAR initiative should deliver both short and longer term improvements in process efficiency and completion times. Fund managers need to continue to develop solutions to meet the challenge of customers transferring between share classes including when switching platforms.

 “While speedier processing is to be welcomed, this doesn’t remove the need for advisers to give careful consideration to any recommendation to switch platforms.

 “Thankfully, the FCA has dropped the most controversial proposal which would have required platforms to ‘police’ the ongoing provision of advice where a customer was paying ongoing Adviser Charges and there had been no platform activity for 12 months. Forcing providers to switch off Adviser Charging unless customers confirmed ongoing advice was a highly flawed proposal, which went against the separation of roles at the heart of the RDR. Advice can cover many things, goes well beyond ‘product’ and doesn’t and shouldn’t always result in platform activity.

 “We do not have any exit fees on our platforms – either at platform or product wrapper level. It will be important to define what is considered an exit fee. There are legitimate ongoing trading or transaction costs when switching funds or redeeming individual equities, which apply when staying in or exiting from a platform and these should not be considered as ‘exit fees’.

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